Thursday, February 23, 2012

As we always say, " 7 free pizzas isn't enough."

"Remember before when we you were talking about hitting low points in your life?" "Yeah. Why do you ask?" "No reason..." Teddy Westside replied just before I dove back into the trashcan inside my apartment's mail room.**

Earlier that week, when looking through my mail, I had noticed a free pizza coupon stuffed inside the regular Wednesday coupon pack. With the exception of the occassional Tom Thumb coupon for lunch meat or whatever, I don't usually find anything interesting. This time, however, I realized that I had hit metaphoric gold when I saw a coupon for the Pie Five establishment that was about to open about a mile away from me. To bring in new business and introduce themselves to the community, they had sent out coupons for a free personal pizza with as many toppings as you'd like and no strings attached. There were no "with purchase of..." or even "only one per customer" stipulations. It was just a free pizza.

Obviously, Teddy Westside and I had no choice but to try to find more. Because I knew that other residents wouldn't be so diligent in scanning through the coupons as I am (thanks to my couponing guru of a sister), we knew the first place to look would be the recycle bins around the complex. That's when I was taught the hard lesson that not everyone respects the rules of recycle bins. We had been looking through the bin for coupons (successfully) when we came upon our first show stopper of a McDonalds bag. While I have nothing against McDonalds, I do have something against touching someone else's mystery food trash. We stopped there and moved to the next bin.

After a little more success, we hit another road block of an overturned soda. (Seriously people, it's the recycle bin! I don't care if you don't recycle, but don't ruin the recyclables that everyone else contributes to!) At that point, we had gathered a total of 7 free pizza coupons, when we coined our new motto "7 free pizzas isn't enough," and kept digging (making the gold analogy from before all the more apt).

By the end of the day (or after probably 20 minutes), we had gathered a whopping total of twelve pizza coupons. All of which we used in the span of a week. Granted, Teddy Westside and I were not the only two using the coupons. We also shared them with Teddy's lovely lady friend, as well as Maddy and Hannah. Regardless, that is still a lot of pizza for me to eat in a week (and what a delicious week it was). Not only did we get delicious pizzas, but Pie Five also sells Pie Holes, which are basically donut holes covered in cinnamon sugar with frosting dipping sauce (that's right, all of your dreams have come true).

Anyway, the whole point of this story is that after that delicious week, I realized that my healthy eating was totally out of whack. Between Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, it didn't get any better either. As a result, I'm going back on South Beach, sort of. More info to come later.

While dumpster diving for pizza coupons might have been one of the low points in my life, what are some of the hilarious lows you've hit? Have you tried my favorite specialty pizza, the Pie Five High Five? Are you concerned that South Beach is one of those fad crash diets? Because don't worry, it's actually very healthy when done properly, and is really good for people with inherent blood sugar issues like myself.

**Note: my poor memory means that these are not direct quotes from the conversation between Teddy Westside and myself, but rather what I can best recall from the incident. Though the wording may have changed, the gist and the spirit of the conversation are still intact.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Will Run for Chocolate: the Hot Chocolate Race and Guilt-Free Fondue

Saturday morning, I woke up at 6am, surprisingly excited. Despite the sudden drop in temperature (it had gone from 70 degrees to 25 degrees in the matter of a couple days), I was raring to go! I got up, ate a breakfast of delicious applesauce (applesauce is always so good when it's chilled), and got dressed in pants, two pairs of knee socks, a tank top, a long sleeve shirt, two jackets, a fuzzy ear piece and gloves (yet, I still felt like I needed more layers). After checking the map and the weather one more time with Maddy (I had stayed on her couch the night before, because I live way too far away for such an early morning commute), we got into her car and headed to Fair Park, where we would be running in the Hot Chocolate 5k.

In spite of terrible logistics regarding traffic conduction and parking, we made it into our corral and waited our turn to start the race. The music selection at the start line was pretty great and the crowd was enthusiastic. Everything was perfect (notwithstanding the fact that I could barely feel parts of my legs and face due to the low temperatures). After a few unsuccessful attempts at starting line pictures and a brief countdown from the announcer, we were off!

Maddy and I attempted navigating through the crowds without getting separated from one another, which had the lovely side effect of forcing us to pace ourselves (even if the pace was a little slower than usual), and everything was going along swimmingly. Almost a mile in, we even ran into (haha! ran!) a few of our friends from kickball! More accurately, they ran up to us (and tickled us, like the athletic jerks they are). Unfortunately, it was just enough distraction that I totally didn't notice the gaping chasm right in front of me (or tiny pothole, whatever) and fell (good thing my cat like reflexes kept me from toppling over completely and enabled me to recover in what I can only assume was an extremely graceful way).

We got through the first mile before slowing to a walk. Seeing as running a mile straight was my goal for the race, I was pretty stoked (albeit tired and somehow overheated and super cold at the same time). We walked the rest of the second mile and took the opportunity to catch our breath, stow away some of our extraneous layers, and re-tie our shoes.

When thanking Maddy for her support,
she simply said "You got me to the race,
so I got you through the race."
Hooray for prepositions!
We started running again at the 2 mile mark and attempted to finish the race without breaking! As we approached the 3 mile mark, however, I had decided that I'd had enough. Gasping for air and complaining of stomach pains, I slowed to a saunter and told Maddy to go on without me. She would have none of that though, and kept shouting encouragement at me until I rejoined her a moment later. We crossed the 3 mile mark then the finish line (at 3.1 miles), and it felt so good (except that I was still gasping for air and wanted nothing more than to sit down... which we then did).

After recovering for a bit, we made our way into the after party where we were handed the most beautiful tray I've ever seen. Well, the tray itself was plastic and boring, but ON the tray were fruit slices, marshmallows, a Rice Krispies treat and a cup of chocolate fondue. It might possibly have been the most delicious chocolate fondue I've ever tasted. However, since chocolate doesn't usually hit the spot at 9am, we left and made our way to a celebratory breakfast. It was the best day.

How did we do? Great!
We ran for 23:40 total and completed the race in 40:55. That's almost 10 minutes faster than last year's Firefly Run! Also, we came in 2985 and 2986 out of 4214, putting us in the top 71%.

I hope we can do as well this Sunday at the Color Run!

What motivates you when you want to give up? Is it strange that the coldest day of the season thus far was the morning of our race, and less than a week later I'm back to wearing short sleeves out? Why do they insist on handing out the grossest flavor of Gatorade at the hydration stations when there are so many delicious options out there?

When taking this picture, all I could think of was that Halloween
episode of the Big Bang Theory, when they all happened to show up
as the Flash. It was suggested that rather than change, they all walk
in a line all night to make it look like it was one Flash going really fast.
I think Maddy, that 2 dimensional stick figure, and I acheive the same effect.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Out with the old...

We'd had some good times together. We used stroll through the park and run in the rain. We toured Nashville and went walkin' in Memphis. We even climbed up and down the Eiffel Tower together. We were happy then, but I knew it couldn't last. I tried to ignore the signs, but after a year and a half, the fibers were wearing thin. Literally. Like, the fabric tore and left a gaping hole in the inner heel of my running shoes...

When I started running (for the first time) during the summer of 2010, I wore some old sneakers that I'd had for years. Since I didn't have a particularly active lifestyle (unless you count swing dancing, which I don't, because it's completely irrelevant to running-shoe-related anecdotes), I didn't think it would be a problem. How much could my shoes have worn down if I never used to run? Turns out a lot. My first clue that my shoes weren't quite up to snuff was that my feet hurt whenever I'd run. My second clue was that one of the soles fell off.

After running on sole-less shoes for far too long, I finally went to Academy and picked out the prettiest pair of sneakers I could find. A couple days later, I went back to Academy to return those horrible yet beautiful shoes and exchange them for ones that actually fit and didn't hurt me. I landed on New Balance something-or-others. They were the best sneakers I'd ever owned. They helped me run faster and jump higher. Most importantly, they were pink.

Fast forward 18 months.

Not long after Maddy and I restarted our running program a couple months ago, I noticed that my legs were tiring out pretty easily. I assumed that it was just because I'm bad at running, and hadn't built up any endurance yet. Then, I noticed that I had worn a hole into the inside heel of my right shoe. Experiencing slight discomfort and worried about blisters, I decided to do some light Googling, through which I learned that you're apparently supposed to replace your running shoes every six months or so. While I maintain that my mostly sedentary lifestyle makes it perfectly acceptable for me to wait a few more months before replacing shoes, I'll admit that waiting thrice the recommended amount of time is probably pushing it too far.

So, on Sunday, I went shopping at Sports Authority and went through the following steps to procure new tennis shoes:

Step 1: Find the women's running shoes section (you'd think this would be obvious, making it unnecessary to note, but leave it to me to accidentally spend 10 minutes in the men's department without realizing it).
Step 2: Hone in on the selections that fall within your price range (because otherwise you'll fall in love with the $250 shoes that promise to make you fast enough to chase down a gazelle).
Step 3: Pick out the 2 or 3 pairs that are prettiest and/or most fun (because what better way is there to narrow down a lot of extremely similar choices?).
Step 4: Try on each selection from step 3 to determine which has the best comfort and support.
Step 5: Purchase shoes of choice.
After following the very sound advice above, I settled on NIKE Women's Dual Fusion ST 2 Running Shoes!

I've taken them running once, and can already feel a significant difference. They are bouncier than my old shoes and fit like a glove (but for your feet). Also, because my new shoes were helping my feet and legs stay aligned properly, I could feel my ankle muscles (that I didn't even know existed) getting quite a workout. Most importantly, they are pink (I actually thought about getting the bright purple or teal varieties, but these look much better with my favorite running socks).

I think these new shoes were a big part of what enabled me to run my first consecutive mile with Maddy yesterday (and a 10:23 mile at that)!

Is it strange that I just bought size 7 shoes, when I can swear that I used to wear size 9? Do you like to romanticize memories of your dealings with inanimate objects? Do you like that I just slipped in the part about Maddy and me running a 10:23 mile like it's no big deal, even though I don't think I've ever run a full mile in my life and am super excited about it?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Win or Lose, We Booze: Season 1 Wrap Up

In spite of rain outs, poor field conditions, an in-progress Hasbro commercial that kicked us off the field, and the holidays, our kickball team finally finished our season a few weeks ago, only 6 weeks behind schedule (note: the season was only supposed to last 8 weeks to begin with)!

During the regular season, we had 6 losses (or what I like to call "moral victories") and one "win" (which I only put in quotation marks, because the team we were playing was down three players - that's if you include the girl that couldn't do anything but stand on the side because she had just had a C-Section and was only there to keep them from having to forfeit). Over the seven games, we scored 32 runs and had only 89 runs scored on us (which pretty aptly shows that all of our moral victories were pretty crushing).

Surprisingly, we performed much better during the playoffs. The tournament was elimination/bracket style, and in true form, as the penultimate team in the league (ranked #14), we were slated to play the McKool Smithies (#3) for the first round. We had played them once before, and they had obliterated us 13 to 1. During the playoffs, however, things were different. After falling behind a few runs early on in the game, we managed to come back and tie the score in the 7th inning, which meant overtime. We were then able to not only score a few more runs, but hold the other team at bay when they were up to kick, and win the game! The underdogs coming back to win against the somewhat rude team that had beaten them so badly before? I call that movie magic!

Unfortunately, the movie magic ended there, in that we lost to the SEC Ballers during a very uneventful second round. But it's probably for the best; had we won, we would have had to give up a Saturday to finish the tournament.

Buster Bluth: "(Holding up a trophy) And I finally feel good about myself. 'Saddest.'"
Michael Bluth: "And I saw those people, that was a very competitive category."

Highlight of the season? Watching how our team was able to eke out some of the weirdest plays I've ever seen. For example, there was one point where Brian bunted, thought it was a foul (even though it wasn't), and just stood there. He then wandered around aimlessly (in a somewhat circular motion) for about 2 minutes (with the ball still in play) and eventually slowly took first base. Amidst the confusion, Jared slowly sauntered all the way from second base back to home for a run without anyone even trying to tag him out. How does that even happen?

Low point of the season? Getting hit in the face with the kickball (that will teach me for closing my eyes when trying to catch a fly ball). Although, I must admit, even at the time it was pretty funny (in spite of the fact that my face was numb for the rest of that inning).

All in all, we did much better than I expected us to do. If nothing else, we're in a much better position for the next season, which is already off to a very good start... but more on that later.

What are some of the weirdest sporting event happenings you've been witness to? Do you think that Hasbro should have let us be extras in their commercial in exchange for cancelling our game last minute? For other members of Win or Lose, We Booze: what would you consider the highlights and low points of the season?